Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hello there

Hello there...
Its good to see your face again
Its been a while my friend.

Hello there...
Its been a while since Ive seen you last
so much time has gone by.

Hello there.

So much time has passed and I haven’t updated. I apologize. I guess Im just a bad blogger.

Mat comes today which I am SUPA excited for. I have a lot of great things planned for us to do. Hopefully everything works out. Si Dios Quiere. Haha

Ok… so …

Started taking my estatutos to different offices for registration. We have now hit a wall at the Corte de Apleacion, should take 3 more weeks to get what I need back.

Havent heard anything back from my latrine grant. Cross fingers.

Took 3 boys to Camp Superman.
It was AMAZING!!!!! It’s a camp made to show boys that it is super cool to stay in school, not get aids, and respect women! Haha
They got to hike, eat, play games, create masks, plaques, capes, and bathe in the river.
The boys I brought had a super time. One boy named Jason won superman of the day and another one of my boys Joselito won Superman of the whole camp. Needless to say I was a proud mama!!!

Had an art day with my girls where they created magical pieces of art.

My chicas brillantes group is going strong with 5 girls haha.
Started selling bolitas de coco to pay for the cost of paint for a mural.
Super excited about the mural, mats going to help me this Wednesday.

OOo did I tell you I started an exercise class with my women?
It’s the funniest class I have and probably the one I enjoy the most.
My women get to stretching and get to farting and then everyone starts laughing.
Its great!

Life has been getting easier over here. I guess the longer you’re here the better it gets.
I still have my days but Im calmer about it all.

Except when my host mom steals my water.
There is a water shortage in campo. Everyone is allotted a certain amount of time to fill up their tanks and gallons. Some people take more water than they should and there is not enough water pressure if these families leave there llaves open. The water won’t go down or in some cases up. So everyone is fighting and it’s terrible.

We had a water directive meeting yesterday and it was chaos.
Made me sad. I told them I just didn’t understand why a culture that is all about compartiring “sharing” would be so selfish about water. Its like this need to fill everything you have and its just not necessary. When it comes to water some change drastically and don’t want to share. Uggh idk what to do. They say this problem will be solved when the rain comes. But we shall see.

Pero ya tu sabes… Si Dios Quiere.

All my love!

Friday, April 8, 2011

So much time has passed

Hello there…
I guess im a horrible blogger. So much time has passed and I haven’t written.
So much has gone on.
I apologize.
I guess I will have to summarize.

My tia came to visit!
It was awesome. Traveled to Samana and Cabrera (where my grandmother is from)
Both places are beautiful.
Ate the best cheese of my life and saved some people whose boat capsized.
Came to my site where my tia got to live it campo style!
She got used to it after a day or two.
It was nice being able to share my space with her.
But time flew and then she was gone.

I also went home in March.
My sister turned 7! She’s a young girl now and idk how I feel about it.
The trip was GREAT but went by too fast.

Finished writing my estatutos.
In the process now of going to different offices to approve all of our paperwork.
My deadline for Grupo de Mujeres Maria Auxiliadora to be legalized is June.

Good news!!
After over 5 years of not having water in our school ….
We finally installed the plumbing outside!!!
Now the kids have somewhere to wash their hands at.
Big moment for the community. Although im not sure anyone was as excited as me.

Other news-
Looks like well be getting more teachers in our school for the previous year.
Ill keep bugging educacion until im sure there not lying.

More news-
Applied for my latrine grant. Hopefully I hear back from them by May.
Also applied for a Fondo Quisqueya grant to put on a art/music summer camp.
The girls group and I have been making bracelets and coconut ball candy to raise money for a beach field trip on the last day of my camp.
I will get this money.
Both grants.
=) Keeping it positive.

Almost forgot to mention I now have a girls group called Chicas Brillantes.
The group enforces positive self esteem in growing teenage girls.
And I just started and engineers club for boys and girls.
Next week they are going to build bridges. Should be cool.

Oh last thing…
Got scuba certified for open water.
Little intimidated at first but I got through it.
Went 60 ft and saw a shipwreck filled with reef colors you could never imagine but I hope you all get to see one day.
I realized that everything comes back to nature.
Almost everything we create is inspired by our natural world whether we realize it or not.
She is our mother and we have to take care of her.

How am I doing?
Some days good.
Some da
ys ok.
Some days sad.
Right now just trying to keep busy to not think about it.
All I can say is Im sending much love towards home right now and I hope they can all feel it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dont lose sight

“Vera no te desanimes, si estás aquí es por alguna razón. Si puedes cambiar la vida de una persona, estás ayudando a la familia de esa persona y la comunidad en donde trabajas, lo que te quiero decir es que a veces hacemos poco, pero vale mucho si se hace con amor y deseos de ayudar a los demás. Tú harás un excelente trabajo, si te enfocas en eso.” –Irene

Words from my first Spanish teacher in country. Just read her e-mail and its nice to hear that support.

This job is hard guys. It’s the loneliness that gets to me the most. I have never been so alone. Some days are easier than others. Some days I spend out of my house all day and others I find it hard to get out. Idk if it’s that I get depressed or what. But sometimes the more im alone the more I want to be alone and then it’s hard for me to get out of my funk.

But now that ive realized this im trying not to let myself get into that. I’m getting out daily.

One day at a time… it’s just..

Living in another country completely alone is tough. And the days where the community doesn’t feel like working you wonder what the F am I doing here!@?

At the same time I feel like ive made a life here. I don’t have a home but I have a house. And I have people who are looking to me to help them.

My project partner and I went to IST and it seems that my community is one of the most neediest. Or at least the community that has had the least amount of outside help. You would be surprised at how much outside funding is in this country. How many euro’s and dollars are helping people build latrines, aqueducts, schools, and bringing in empresas to work in.

Where is the government? Why aren’t they helping there people? Why aren’t they making sure there people have water, a road, a school (with teachers), jobs?

I have no idea. From what ive seen the politicians work for show. Everything they do has a sign right next to it to let you know who it was that brought this to you!

They promise during their elections- give out a whole bunch of stuff and then turn their faces one elected.

Do you know that out of the 70 homes in my community 22 do not have latrines?

There is a 63% unemployment rate.

And 30% of the community has never gone to school.

Only 25% have made it to about 6th grade- what can I say? They get tired of the walk and money talks a lot faster than education. Except when they leave school to find employment there is none.

There is definitely a need. Not a fancy project like other volunteers may have but a real grassroots kind.

The one which develops latrines. Tries to get teacher for the school. Legalizes the women’s group. Tries to bring in an income generation project. And maybe with God’s grace builds real bathrooms and installs running water in the school.

Vamos a ver what I can do.

Vamos a ver how long im here for.

Today was a successful day. Actually a successful week.

The water directive I started met Monday and has started collecting 25 pesos monthly from each house hold to have funds for if the bomba breaks again.

Tuesday- Met with the directive from my womens group and began writing there estatutos.


Made 52 gallons of Mistolin.

This needs to sell quickly so we can sell again. Profits go to our legalization fund.

Thursday- had a vision and mission charla. I feel like I really got through to the women. Got them thinking about why they are getting together and what they are trying to accomplish.

This is the vision they came up with-

Mujeres unidas trabajando para desarrollar nuestra independencia, logrando varios proyectos que ayudan nuestra asociación y comunidad.

I think the goal we got today was to one day become a Mistolin empresa.

I hope… I pray… that the women sell the remaining gallons by next week. That we get all the fiao money back in 2 weeks and that we sell another batch of Mistolin in March.

Sounds easy? Ha -

Legalization here we come! Hey after 32 years of luchando they deserve it.

Tomorrow- going to start a chicas brillantes group. A group to help jovenes with their self esteem.

So I know that this blog is everywhere. You may not understand and that’s okay.

Half the time I don’t understand.

But time is flying. And im hoping I can do real work out here. I hope I can find the strength I need.

Some days im stronger than others.

Today im feeling good.

Tomorrow im feeling will be a good day.

Its all an outlook right?


Don’t lose sight of yourselves.

All my love!

P.s... Got a street puppy. Hes cute. Named him Vito.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Real Update


Im sorry I couldn’t fill you guys in on everything before. Ill try and make up for it now.
In December I held a Christmas show. I started with about 30 kids and slowly the number dwindled and I ended up with 12 girls and one boy. Do I feel defeated? No. That night was amazing. Many times I have questioned what I am doing here and then there are moments of clarity. The jovenes show was one of those moments. We had been rehearsing for about a month and what began as once a week practice soon became an everyday thing. The jovenes that stayed with me wanted to reunite. It made them happy and it made me happy.

The jovenes sent out invitations to the campo. My mom sent me some Christmas bells and lights. (Thanks mommy dearest)
That night the whole town came out. The kids sang 8 songs and I was filled with joy. The community had never had a Christmas show before, never had a childrens show before.

The kids were filled with pride and it made my heart smile.

Not a big change. Maybe not even a small change.

A moment.

A moment that will live in my heart and in the hearts of those 13 children.

I had another moment of clarity today. You see my town has been without water for about a month.
La bomba broke. All the people in the town stayed with their arms crossed except this one luchadora named Gladys. God bless her.
She fought and got our bomba fixed for about 18,000 pesos. Got the sindico to pay for it.

Finally when the water was released people got greedy and the water didn’t reach many homes because some wanted to fill up every single tanke that they had.
One of the other women told Gladdys to go home that she didn’t have say over anything and this broke her heart and she swore to never help the community again.
You see she is the one that helped me solicit education to get the kids another professor. We were supposed to go again tomorrow.

In campo people talk- they talk a lot. They also chismed and said that the water didn’t go down because my project partner had hogged it all. This hurt her because her and her husband are the reason the town has any water at all.

How quickly people are able to tear down when they have gotten what they wanted.

So you see Dominga and Gladdys are the two essential women in my community. Without them no one moves. Its unfortunate but it’s the way it is for now.
The community takes them for granted and both of them want to give up.
Today I spoke to them both individually and then together.
I explained to them that what they do many do not have the courage to do. That they do things for the good of doing good. That if they give up they will not be happy because they are truly happy when they are helping. Its something that God has given them. And it is the spirit that pushes them. People will always talk but they cannot make them feel inferior without their consent.

We talked about many things until we came to an understanding.

When I left them and Dominga had decided to let her husband be in the water committee I was forming and Gladdys decided to go with me to solicit education again. I felt good.

I felt like I had accomplished something. A lot of times we look for big things and we over see that it’s in the small connections that we make a difference.

Without these two women I wouldn’t be here because they are the ones that fought to bring me here.

It is important that we stay strong and united.

Everywhere we go there are negatives trying to tear us down, keep us away from what we are supposed to be doing.

Remember that these deferments only have the power if we give it to them.

I hope and pray that my town can come together and get organized enough to start a water directive. One that will work.

I hope and pray that I will be able to bring this community a latrine project.

I hope and pray that we will get more professors for the kids.

I hope and pray that more men and women will stand up and luchar to better the community.

Somos mas fuerte unidos.

All my love!

Live True.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Hola mi gente

I know its been a while since Ive posted. Merry Christmas- Happy New Years!!!
I hope that you are well and happy and feeling blessed. I cant believe its 2011. I must say that i did not feel the change as much over here. Holidays are weird. Christmas didnt feel like christmas- it was just like any other day except we had way more food.

It was sad to be without my family. But im proud of myself i did not allow myself to wallow in tears. I know that i had it in me to ball but i only allowed myself a few tears. Me estoy madurando!!! Plus my mom got me a great christmas present... a flight home in March!!!!

Im coming home March 10th people get excited!!!! I know im excited =)

So... I moved out of my host family's house and moved into my own home!!!!
I am so happy to have my own space. Even though i can still hear my dona yelling at everyone from where i am its still great.
Ive only been on my own for a little over a weeek but i feel the change already.
The move took a week- my uncle changed a wooden wall to block and me and my dad painted a couple of rooms.
Paint makes everything better. haha

I have about 5 rooms. My room, family room, dining room, kitchen, and another room to wash the dishes. Hardly any furniture to fill it but its great. Here we sit on plastic chairs until i can save up for a mesedora =)

My project partner took me shopping for my furniture which was really nice of her and her husband. They are really great with me. My project partner is my best friend in my site.

I have a fridge with a freezer! A bed. And a 4 burner stove and tank.
Went shopping for food this weekend and spent all of my money. Now i have 300 pesos left to last me until the end of the month. Hmm... may be a problem seeing as i have to pay for me and my project partner to get to IST at the end of the month.
May have to pull from my US account. =/
Dont worry floks ill be alright.

Anyways i have to run but i will try and write soon. There is still a lot left to tell. Will write soon.

Until then... enjoy the photos!

There are pictures from the christmas show i put on with my jovenes.
Picture of my family. Me riding a burro. And me with two of my good friends out here Estacy and Robin.

Love u!!!! Take care of yourselves!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Some words

Hola!!! 12/12/10
I hope that you are all doing well.
Things have been up and down for me. This month has been hard. One positive is that I went and visited some other PCV’s in the south. I got to spend 3 days on the beach. Its crazy that some volunteers get a beach site. Talk about being blessed and living the life!!! I saw Barahucco, Los Platos, and San Rafael. My favorite was San Rafy’s . The river water literally flows into the ocean. Beautiful beautiful. If your ever here skip the all inclusive and go to the south, there lay some of the last untouched beaches in the country.
During my trip I met an American couple who had built a house on top of a mountain in San Rafael. Took the guy 13 years but he has a great lay out. Trying to start an eco-tourism project and swims/surfs every day. This is a couple that’s doing it. Living outside the mold and couldn’t be happier.
Living here makes me question a lot. I wonder if I will ever be able to live in the US again. Not that I don’t love where I come from but Miami is super expensive to live in.
What I pay in rent is what you pay for your electric or water bill.
Whats wrong here?
Im just going to say it. Americans have way too much and still want more. What happened to simple living? Were we all convinced by what the media told us we should want and have? Do you know that I barely use a whole bucket of water to shower every day? Think about how much water you use. Is there ever a time where you could turn some water off soap up and then turn the water back on to wash off?
Here I don’t have internet and I have to go to a certain spot to get reception to use my phone. When I think of how much time some people my age spend on changing their FB status or texting or watching television it makes me sad. It’s like an itch that we need to scratch. Have to get that new I-phone because it will make us happy… until the new one comes out and then were not satisfied with the one we have. All these things that supposedly make us happy but they are just things! Things don’t make anyone happy.
All that time that people waste on their phones when they are actually hanging out with their friends or family. And for what?
What is it that we have to prove?
When did we get like this?
When did we grow so disconnected from each other?
Im not judging anyone im just stating some things I have seen along the way that I do not understand from my generation.
I love to see spending real time. I love to see people sharing and going out of their way to help someone else. I love to see people say hi to one another. That is what I see here in the DR.
It is in the US too. You just have to look a bit harder. I believe there is a silent revolution going on. One where more people my age are becoming aware of the truth. And there getting mad and there talking to their friends about it. But unlike the 60’s were not making noise like we should.
I’m rambling. I am aware. I just think that some of these things should be said.
During this Christmas season and throughout the whole year, your whole LIFE… spend time with the people you love.
Tell them you love them. We do not have all the time we think we have.
Ill tell you one thing I don’t think I can truly be happy without my family. Im happy but its not the same. I miss my sister’s laugh and words of wisdom that make me question if age means anything at all. I miss my mom so much, just sitting down and talking to her. Miss watching football with my step dad and dancing with my brother.
I miss my friends. I miss so much. This Christmas will be the hardest one of my life. But I pray that the Lord will give me the strength I need.
I’m here for a reason. And for however long I am supposed to be here I will be here.
So send your love and strength my way because Im going to need it. Until next time… I will leave you with a Whitman quote from 1855-
This is what you shall do.
Love the earth and the sun and the animals.
Despise riches.
Give alms to everyone that asks.
Stand up for the stupid and crazy.
Devote your income and labor to others,
Hate tyrants, have patience towards the people,
Take off your hate to nothing known or unknown,
Or to any man or any number of men.
Go freely with powerful uneducated persons
And the young and with the mothers of families…
Re-examine all you have been told at school
or church or in any book and
Dismiss whatever insults your own soul.

Sending you all my love,
Vera =)